The chair of the Central Land Council warmly welcomes the Northern Territory Government’s efforts to shut the revolving prison door on Aboriginal children and adults.
“Lifting the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years of age means that the cruel practice of jailing 10-year-old children ceases,” CLC chair Robert Hoosan said.

“It’s a long-overdue and welcome step on the way to raising the age to 14 years, in line with more enlightened and civilised societies.”
“I hope the next NT budget will back this important reform with the resources for prevention, therapy and diversion needed to make it a success.”

The legislation introduced today delivers on a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT.
“We should all be proud to become the first jurisdiction in Australia to not just pay lip service to, but actually legislate, raising the age of criminal responsibility,” said Mr Hoosan.
The CLC also applauds the repeal of mandatory sentencing for some offences.
“Our members have opposed this unfair, wasteful and ineffective legislation for a quarter of a century,” he said.

“A smart justice system takes individual circumstances into account and offers alternatives to jail to offenders who can be rehabilitated.
“This reform will make the Territory a fairer and safer place if it is backed by effective and well-funded behavioural change programs.”
Among the legal changes introduced into in the NT Legislative Assembly are anti-vilification measures and a positive duty to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.
“These anti-discrimination reforms will avert harm from all Territorians and benefit Aboriginal people in particular,” said Mr Hoosan.
“I commend Attorney-General Chansey Paech for listening to our members and pushing these reforms through against strong opposition.”

13 October 2022

The four NT Land Councils held a historic meeting on Gurindji country, on Thursday, 25 August 2022.

Executive Council Members discussed a range of topics including Uluru Statement from the Heart, Voice to Parliament, Northern Territory Treaty, how to address the poor turnout in remote Aboriginal communities at the last election, remote housing and homelands and imminent rent increases for remote communities planned by the Northern Territory Government, and township leasing arrangements on Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

Chair of the Central Land Council, Mr Robert Hoosan, said he was proud to host Executive Council Members from Tiwi Land Council, Anindilyakwa Land Council and Northern Land Council at Kalkaringi.

“Gurindji Country is the birthplace of Land Rights and this week the anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk Off. History was made 56 years ago this week and history was made again today,” Mr Hoosan said.

Senator Patrick Dodson, Special Envoy for Reconciliation and the Implementation of the Uluru Statement, and Member for Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour, spoke about a range of matters including the Voice to Parliament. The combined Executives passed a resolution supporting implementation of the Uluṟu Statment from the Heart in full and changing the Australian Constitution to enshrine a Voice to Parliament within this term of Government.

Chairman of the Northern Land Council, Mr Samuel Bush-Blanasi said he was proud to support this historic resolution. “We have been waiting too long for the Voice. I heard Prime Minister Albanese speak at Garma about changing the Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I’m glad to see things are moving forward again.”

Representatives from the Australian Electoral Commission were also invited to attend to address Executives Members on how to ‘close the gap’ in voter enrolment and participation rates between urban and remote areas of the NT and other states. 

Mr Gibson Farmer-Illortaminni said this is an important issue. “I heard today as many as 25,000 Territorians are not enrolled to vote. We need to do better. This is about getting our young men and women involved and educating our people about having a say in elections for the Territory and Commonwealth governments,” Mr Farmer-Illortaminni said. “Things are not much better for older people, the system often fails them too.”

The Executive Council Members also discussed funding for remote housing and the Northern Territory Government’s plans to impose a large increase in rent in remote Aboriginal communities commencing in September. Members passed a resolution calling on the NT Government to implement a moratorium on the rent increase until further consultations have occurred on the rent framework, a permanent subsidy is put in place and rates per room are brought into line with levels proposed in consultations in 2018.  

Council Members also welcomed the Government’s $100 million election commitment for NT homelands. Members passed a resolution seeking a commitment from the Commonwealth Government to ongoing funding for homelands and to co-design a process for the distribution of homelands funding. 

“This is important for all Aboriginal people on homelands and for Aboriginal people in the Anindilyakwa region,” Mr Thomas Amagula, Deputy Chair of Anindilyakwa Land Council, said. 

The combined Executives also discussed township leasing arrangements on Aboriginal land. Chairman of the Northern Land Council noted that funding for townships leases and the cost of administering these leases comes from the Aboriginals Benefits Account.

“The Government should pay for this somewhere else. It should not come from ABA – that is Aboriginal money,” said Mr Bush-Blanasi. Executive members agreed to send a delegation to Canberra to discuss these issues with Minister Burney, Minister McCarthy, Senator Dodson and Member for Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour. 


Central Land Council chief executive Les Turner has paid tribute to the High Court judge who wrote the lead judgement in the landmark Mabo case.

Sir Gerard Brennan’s judgement recognised for the first time under Australian law that the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their land according to their own laws and customs not only predated, but survived, settlement and continue to this day.

Mr Turner said Sir Gerard, who died on Wednesday, on the eve of the 30th Mabo anniversary, would be always remembered for the historic decision.

“We will never forget that Sir Gerard exposed the lie of Terra Nullius at the heart of Australia’s legal system,” he said.

“By the time he handed down the Mabo decision in 1992, he had heard many appeals brought by the enemies of land rights in the Northern Territory.”

Sir Gerard is being remembered as a brilliant and compassionate man who in retirement campaigned for social justice and advocated for a national integrity commission.

In his Mabo judgement he wrote “It is imperative in today’s world that the common law should neither be, nor be seen to be, frozen in an age of racial discrimination”.

“The fiction by which the rights and interests of Indigenous (people) in land were treated as non-existent was justified by a policy which has no place in the contemporary law of this country.”

Mr Turner paid his respects to the family of Sir Gerard on behalf of the CLC. “I hope his children take comfort in the knowledge that thirty years on, their father’s judgment continues to set precedence in our continuing fights for our land.”

The chair of the Central Land Council, Robert Hoosan, has congratulated the Northern Territory’s four federal representatives on their election success. Mr Hoosan said he is particularly proud of the trio of female Aboriginal politicians.

“Marion, Malarndirri and Jacinta have campaigned hard for their victories and made history,” he said. “Each made their case strongly during our recent council meetings. I wish them all well. “It’s so good to have three Aboriginal women represent us in Canberra, and our elected members look forward to meeting with them again as soon as possible.”

Mr Hoosan plans to work closely with the new member for Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour, and NT senators Malarndirri McCarthy and Jacinta Price to improve the lives of people in remote communities and town camps. “I want to work with them on creating real jobs and building decent houses in our remote communities, and making our communities safe and healthy places for all residents,” he said.

“From climate change to water security, the previous government has left us with a lot of challenges that we must now tackle together if we want to have a future on our country. There is no time to lose.”

Mr Hoosan, an elder and youth worker who teaches bush skills to young men at risk, believes that implementing the Uluru Statement for the Heart will change lives. “I would not be interested if it was about symbolism,” he said. “We need a voice to the parliament so we can let Canberra know which practical solutions we think will work for our people and which are doomed to fail.” Mr Hoosan said he wants elected representatives to leave the old politics of division behind.

“I hope we call all work together and make the voice a reality – for all Australians,” he said.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is an Australian government agency based in Canberra.
The objective of the ANAO is to support accountability and transparency in the Australian Government sector.
The ANAO is currently reviewing the governance of Land Councils in the Northern Territory.
Governance means doing things the proper way in organisations, according to rules, culture and the law.

We would like to hear your views on how the Central Land Council (CLC):

  1. Manages the operations of the CLC on behalf of Aboriginal people
  2. Conducts consultation with Aboriginal people
  3. Helps Aboriginal people and traditional owners manage and look after country
  4. Reports on the CLC’s performance
  5. And any other views you may have on how the CLC works

Please provide your responses before 30 September 2022 by:
• sending an email to the ANAO at or
• calling the ANAO on 0476 249 221 or
• submitting your comments on the ANAO website at

Any information you provide is confidential – it will not be shared with anyone outside of the ANAO.
Once we have finished collecting information, we will write a report that will be presented to the Australian Parliament in March 2023. It may contain some recommendations to help improve the governance of the CLC.

Your guide to being a council member

Alekarenge students are getting job-ready without having to leave their community, thanks to an innovative horticulture work experience trial.

The Alekarenge work experience pilot program is a partnership between Alekarenge Horticulture Pty Ltd and Centrefarm.

It helps middle and senior school students in the community south of Tennant Creek to gain valuable industry experience.

The students learn to grow crops such as garlic, pumpkins, cabbages, zucchini and watermelons alongside adult workers on the Aboriginal-owned farm near the community and also study horticulture at school.

Economic stimulus funding from the Aboriginals Benefit Account, administered by the Central Land Council, has allowed the project to expand its farm.

The project is using the $1,619,000 grant to buy equipment, build infrastructure and pay wages.

It has seen the first 10 trainees from the community graduate with a Certificate 1 in Agrifood Operations last year.

It has also sold fresh produce to Aboriginal-owned supermarkets in Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and Alekarenge’s Mirnirri Store.

The students also sold the store zucchini chocolate muffins and zucchini fritters they made.

“The funding will go a long way towards providing training and employment opportunities,” Centrefarm’s Joe Clarke said.

The work experience trial aims to offer fulltime work for six to 10 students, or a higher number of parttime placements, before it concludes in 2024.

The CLC’s economic stimulus funding has assisted 14 Aboriginal businesses and organisations with a combined total of more than $17 million in approved grants in 2021.

The money is helping to set up new ranger groups out bush, fund an Aboriginal economic development forum in Alice Springs, support another horticulture business near Ti Tree and kick-start or expand several social enterprises.

One of them has created some competition for Central Australia’s only funeral service.

Desert Funerals, a joint venture between Ngurratjuta and Centrecorp, aims to bring down the high costs of farewelling loved ones.

“Desert Funerals brings new competition to the market whilst committing to culturally appropriate and affordable funerals,” Centrecorp chief executive, Randle Walker, said.

The plan for a not-for-profit, culturally sensitive funeral service for remote communities and town was hatched in late 2018 and the service moved into an office near the Alice Springs cemetery last October.

Almost $400,000 in economic stimulus funding has helped the social enterprise get started, with the business holding its first funeral service in February.

Mr Walker said the funds were “instrumental in assisting Desert Funerals to become a credible alternative funeral provider through funding for hearses, building alterations and funeral equipment”.

Tennant Creek is not missing out on stimulus funding either.

When the Julalikari Council’s Jajjikari Café re-opened at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre in early 2020, after it had been closed for five years, the CLC’s stimulus funding allowed it to branch out into street food.

The Jajjikari Café smoko truck is literally a vehicle to train two Aboriginal workers in hospitality and customer service.

“The smoko truck drives around to businesses and the community living areas, serving home made fresh treats,” Julalikari’s Jacqulin Pereira said.

The $190,000 grant also paid for equipment for outdoor film nights and music events, a stage and a jumping castle for the school holidays.

The project goes some way towards meeting the demand for Aboriginal tourism experiences and quality catering services in the town.

The CLC’s economic stimulus project was made possible by an injection of $36.7 million from the Aboriginals Benefit Account in November 2020. For more information email, call (08) 8951 0667 or, or go to